Which party is getting more extreme?

posted at 1:21 pm on April 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats want to paint Republicans as wild-eyed conservative extremists, but are Republicans or Democrats moving faster toward their ideological poles?  Not even the Democrats who have tried to make this case repeatedly since 2009 can keep their stories straight.  After portraying Mitt Romney as a man with no ideological core at all, Democrats and Team Obama now accuse Romney of being the biggest conservative ideologue since Barry Goldwater, and the GOP as being radically right-wing for having nominated him:

After months of depicting Mr. Romney as the ultimate squishy, double-talking, no-core soul, Team Obama is shifting gears. Senior administration officials, along with Democratic and campaign officials, all say their strategy moving forward will be to tell the world that Mr. Romney has a core after all — and it’s deep red.

Joe Scarborough and his team discussed the 180-degree turn in Democratic Party hysterics on yesterday’s show:

The interesting thing that’s happened in the last week, I think, is the way in which the Obama campaign has shifted away from the consistent argument that they’ve made over the course of the last year, really, about Mitt Romney, which is that he is a flip flopping phony, away from that argument to the argument he is a right-wing nut. And, you know, with David Plouffe coming out and saying that he is the most radical conservative since Barry Goldwater. You can’t kind of have it both ways. Barry Goldwater was not a flip flopping phony. And so, if you’re going to say that Romney is a flip flopping phony, you can’t say that he’s a hard right conservative.

I think they are shifting in that direction and that is, I think, part of their trying to adapt to a new environment where they think Romney might be able to get to the middle, and they want to try and keep him over there on the far right.

Actually, I find this rather instructive.  The only way anyone can make an argument that Mitt Romney is the second coming of Barry Goldwater is to have a perspective starting so far Left that there appears to be no difference between the two. In my column today for The Fiscal Times, I look at the decimation of the Blue Dog Democrats that continued in primaries this week to argue that the extreme party is the one suffering a festering case of projection these days:

Consider the state of the Blue Dog Democrat coalition in the House.  In 2006 and 2008, Democrats ran moderates for swing districts held by Republicans after the GOP lost the confidence of the electorate, and won dozens of seats to take control of Congress.  They promised fiscal discipline and a moderate approach to social issues, and voters assumed they would apply the brakes on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s more doctrinaire liberal impulses.  At the height of their power, the Blue Dog caucus had 54 members and wielded considerable clout – or so voters assumed. …

Rep. Mark Critz had to run against moderate Rep. Jason Altmire in PA-12 after redistricting merged a small part of Critz’ more liberal district into Altmire’s.  Critz edged Altmire by four points — with substantial help from union allies, both in volunteer help and over $80,000 in primary-campaign funds.   Altmire had barely held off Republican challenger Keith Rothful in 2010 by running on his moderate positions on health care and fiscal issues.  Republicans are licking their chops at the chance to run Rothfus against Critz and the Obama administration policies Critz backs.

The Keystone State also lost its longest-serving House member, Blue Dog Rep. Tim Holden. Holden has won ten terms in Congress, but lost by 14 points to Matt Cartwright, a personal-injury attorney who spent $400,000 of his own money to run to Holden’s left.  Redistricting played a much larger part in Holden’s loss, as Holden’s old district consisted of a slightly Republican electorate (R+4).  That changed to a dramatically Democratic district (D+24), and Cartwright hammered Holden for being insufficiently supportive of Obamacare, and posing himself as “an old-school Roosevelt Democrat.”  Republicans are unlikely to beat Cartwright with the new boundaries, and that means that the House Democratic caucus will get pushed further to the left.

In 2010, 34 House Democrats voted against ObamaCare.  By the end of this election cycle, only four of those may still be in the House.  Blue Dogs have become an endangered species as the Democratic Party has moved sharply to its Left under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  That’s the only explanation for confusing Mitt Romney with the ghost of Barry Goldwater.


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Dims went over the cliff!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:25 PM

They are not a party anymore!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

They are RULERS!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

They break laws and nothing happens!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Blue Dogs have become an endangered species as the Democratic Party has moved sharply to its Left under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. That’s the only explanation for confusing Mitt Romney with the ghost of Barry Goldwater.

That’s an excellent concise repost to the attack. Nancy’s image does the rest.

lexhamfox on April 26, 2012 at 1:27 PM

They incite riots..and ignore the victims!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

How many people actually remember Goldwater? The only thing I know about him is that he ran for President.

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

The socialist democrat party is clearly in the middle of the spectrum. It’s those crazy republicans who want government to leave you alone that are the loons.

lorien1973 on April 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Someone ATE the Bluedogs!

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

bro you should know Goldwater. check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conscience_of_a_Conservative

Steven McGregor on April 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM

ergo, dear leader will double down on the right wing extremist meme…they don’t want to run on their record

desperate

chuck todd defending obama with BUSH DID IT…bleh

cmsinaz on April 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Romney, biggest conservative and radically right wing. I WISH!

jfox21 on April 26, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Both parties are getting more extreme. Yes, Democrats want nothing to do with blue dogs. But most Republicans, as was evidenced by the primary, bust out the “RINO” label for anyone who has the misfortune of not being 100% conservative, and pandering the conservatives by pretendign to be 100% conservative.

The problem for Republicans is that the media pretends Democrats are moderates and conservatives are extreme. So, the narrative becomes set that Republicans are the extremeists.

milcus on April 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

After portraying Mitt Romney as a man with no ideological core at all, Democrats and Team Obama now accuse Romney of being the biggest conservative ideologue since Barry Goldwater, and the GOP as being radically right-wing for having nominated him:

IMO, it isn’t just Romney that is switching to a general election strategy. Clearly, they thought the best way to screw with the GOP primaries was to paint Romney as a flip flopper. Now that Romney is the presumptive nominee, they need to demonize Republicans as being extreme ideologues.

The Democrat party so loves poor people so much they’ve created millions in the last three years. And yet they call the GOP extreme.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2012 at 1:37 PM

How many people actually remember Goldwater? The only thing I know about him is that he ran for President.

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Very young kid at the time, but old enough to remember. My father was active in his campaign. Still has a stash of cans of “Au H2O 64″ soft drink in his garage somewhere. Tasted like Mountain Dew at the time. Wouldn’t want guess like what now…

The Conscience of a Conservative is a quick read, and concise introduction to the conservative ideas of the man “who lost forty-four states and won the future.” (George Will)

de rigueur on April 26, 2012 at 1:39 PM

How many people actually remember Goldwater? The only thing I know about him is that he ran for President.

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

You would be surprised-a lot of people on the Left still hate him for voting against the final Civil Rights Act (even though prior to that he had a good record on racial issues).

And many on today’s Right also hate him.

Del Dolemonte on April 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

It’ll be good to see Critz go. That’s a seat the Democrats could have held if they had nominated Altmire.

forest on April 26, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Is it extreme to want to follow the rule of law?

Is it extreme to want to follow the Constitution?

Is it extreme to want to Limited government?

Is it extreme to want Liberty?

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater Change and a greater Evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder. Frédéric Bastiat

Chip on April 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM

… as the Democratic Party has moved sharply to its Left under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

The DNC, Pelosi, Reid & Obama have driven this country off-road & heading directly for their favorite destination… Communism.

Danny on April 26, 2012 at 1:43 PM

That “Lean Forward” logo on MSNBC still creeps me out. I always feel like I’m being prepped for a proctological exam.

Trafalgar on April 26, 2012 at 1:43 PM

*raises hand* Ooooh! I know, I know! Pick me, pick me! ;-)

totherightofthem on April 26, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Not even the Democrats who have tried to make this case repeatedly since 2009 can keep their stories straight.

They need to create a “lie-tracker” job to help them keep their lies straight. Accuracy and facts are not high priority for Demo-Comms. First priority? Maintaining, increasing, or gaining power. Means? Whatever pops into their minds first, apparently.

yhxqqsn on April 26, 2012 at 1:50 PM

To MSM and the far left it’s the GOP. To the rest of us the Democrats are the most extreme.

bw222 on April 26, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Funny they should bring up Goldwater. The Democrats demogogued him to (picture of a nuclear bomb expolsion behind a little girl picking daisys). We got Johnson and the second phase of the Democrat Organized Corruption Complex, aka known as the war on poverty, and an escalation in Vietnam.

LA Conservative on April 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM

That’s what gerrymandering will do for ya long term. Eventually, you end up with the worst of the worst. I can cite examples, but, you guys already know them.

a capella on April 26, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Steven McGregor on April 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM

de rigueur on April 26, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Thank you guys/gals for the kind and helpful answers.

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:58 PM

LA Conservative on April 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM

A Cautionary Tale for Our Time™, that. They sorta did that already, with McCain, but imagine if Obama is allowed to double-down.

de rigueur on April 26, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Conservatives (and the few lawmakers that will follow) are begging to race towards liberty and prosperity. Liberals (and most of the government) are running towards tyranny.

search4truth on April 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

In 2010, 34 House Democrats voted against ObamaCare. By the end of this election cycle, only four of those may still be in the House. Blue Dogs have become an endangered species…

Obamacare ate the Blue Dogs.

ITguy on April 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

How can Obama’s team say Romney is hard-right when they have repeatedly given him praise for his role in the health care fiasco. Is Obama’s team really that stupid? (Rhetorical)

What a joke.

Patriot Vet on April 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Obamacare ate the Blue Dogs.

ITguy on April 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Heh. The Revolution Fundamental Change always devours its own.

de rigueur on April 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM

You can’t kind of have it both ways. Barry Goldwater was not a flip flopping phony. And so, if you’re going to say that Romney is a flip flopping phony, you can’t say that he’s a hard right conservative.

I am beginning to see the genius of the etch a sketch strategy :)

Dr Evil on April 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Hey, the Democratic Party is very diverse. You’ve got Maoists, Stalinists, Pol Potists (the enviro-wackos), Leninists and mere fascists.

rbj on April 26, 2012 at 2:12 PM

What des “extreme” conservatism look like? By our definition and not that of the Left?

We all, Left and Right, know what extreme Left is.

Charlemagne on April 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Let’s look at which party has had the more extreme fiscal year deficits.

No Republican-majority fiscal year deficit has ever reached $600 Billion.

Since the Democrats took control of the budgeting and spending process in 2007, EVERY fiscal year deficit has been over $1,000 Billion (over $1 Trillion), and the 2009-2012 fiscal year deficits under pResident Obama have been averaging $1,589 Billion ($1.589 Trillion).

If you cut $1 Trillion from the current Democrat deficit, it would STILL be bigger than the last Republican deficit of $501 Billion!

Which party is more extreme? The Demonrats who criticized Republican deficit spending, and then went on to TRIPLE the amount of deficit spending.

Again…

Last Republican deficit: FY 2007, $501 Billion
The Democrats added more than that ($505 Billion) to the national debt in just THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS of this fiscal year!

ITguy on April 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

How many people actually remember Goldwater? The only thing I know about him is that he ran for President.

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

I remember him well JP. I voted for LBJ over Goldwater. My only excuse is that I was young and ignorant having been raised in a Southern Democrat home. I had just enlisted in the Navy and it was the first time I voted. If I had it to do over again I would, of course, vote for Goldwater. Very shortly after I voted for LBJ I got a very rude wake up call concerning Democrats. LBJ was the last Democrat I voted for. As far as I’m concerned if you have a (D) following your name I won’t vote for you no matter how wonderful you personally are. You’re a (D) and you support and push (D) values and that’s not something that endears you to me. The first question I ask any political solicitor either calling or knocking on my door is “Are you a Democrat?” No matter if the candidate is on a national scale or a local school board election. If they’re Democrats I don’t vote for them.

Oldnuke on April 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Hold the phone… the guy who brought to life the playbook for ObamaCare as governor is a “hard right wingnut”?

Who is living in fairytale land now?

gravityman on April 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Here’s the ad that’s credited for nailing the lid on Goldwater’s presidential coffin. Keep in mind that this election was just a few years following the Cuban missile crisis and that the threat of nuclear war was something every American took seriously. Children in school actually practiced “Duck and Cover.”

Oldnuke on April 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Republicans more extreme? Nonsense. More determined? Absolutely.

lynncgb on April 26, 2012 at 2:34 PM

What does “extreme” conservatism look like?

Charlemagne on April 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM

How about this?

The turn [in public affairs] will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given.
– Barry Goldwater, concluding paragraph of The Conscience of a Conservative

Don’t expect to hear that from a presidential candidate again in your lifetime. Pity.

de rigueur on April 26, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Whaddyamean “getting” extreme? The Dembeciles have been extreme for decades now. But yes, let’s get rid of the (blue) dogs, then the (far-left) wolves, and finally the RINOS.

stukinIL4now on April 26, 2012 at 2:40 PM

to the argument he is a right-wing nut.

They are becoming more desperate and more shrill. They are sunk in the polls. Remember Carter was 20 points ahead at this point and Zero is NOT.

Without the fake polls Zero is fading fast. He knows it, the dems know it and Carter knows it. Heh, the Clinton’s know it. They know how angry people are or they would not be coming out trying to get the ObamunistCare albatross off their necks.

Oops, too late. You’re all washed up.

dogsoldier on April 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM

ITguy on April 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

You got there first. I was going to just say “Owe ate the blue dogs”. Someone needs to check Moochelle’s recipes.

katablog.com on April 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Here’s the ad that’s credited for nailing the lid on Goldwater’s presidential coffin. Keep in mind that this election was just a few years following the Cuban missile crisis and that the threat of nuclear war was something every American took seriously. Children in school actually practiced “Duck and Cover.”

Oldnuke on April 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Thanks for sharing your story, I guess we all do stupid stuff when we are young!

I have met some people in my travels through the United States that have shared their memories with me regarding the Cuban missile crisis. Of course I was never taught any of this stuff for obvious reasons.

Thanks for sharing the videos. Wow!

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

The only way anyone can make an argument that Mitt Romney is the second coming of Barry Goldwater is to have a perspective starting so far Left that there appears to be no difference between the two.

That is the best, and most accurate, sentence I have read in quite a long time.

John Kettlewell on April 26, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Barry and Nancy will do everything to stay in power. Even if it means destroying the Democratic Party.

GarandFan on April 26, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Reagan’s speech at ’64 Convention

txhsmom on April 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Now, we know what happened to all of the Blue Dog Democrats…..

President Barack Obama, Dog-Eater-in-Chief.

Resist We Much on April 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I have met some people in my travels through the United States that have shared their memories with me regarding the Cuban missile crisis. Of course I was never taught any of this stuff for obvious reasons.

Thanks for sharing the videos. Wow!

JPeterman on April 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

One of my friends and long time work associates was stationed on a submarine that took part in the blockade. He was just a young pup then, hadn’t even been to Nuke Skool at the time. He retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Machinist’s Mate. We go to breakfast with a bunch of other old retired “Nukes” once a month.

Oldnuke on April 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Blue Dog democrat were never moderate. Less communistic, yes.

jukin3 on April 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Liberalism perverts everything, even itself…….

crosshugger on April 26, 2012 at 4:26 PM

I’m seeing increasing pieces (in mainstream media and academia) about the lack of bipartisan functionality being entirely the problem of the Right being intractable and uncooperative. I expect that tune to be hamered relentlessly from here on.

krome on April 26, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Another reason this won’t work is that when they compare Romney to Barry Goldwater, milliions of Americans say, “Who?” When you have to explain your cultural references, they don’t work.

Jeff A on April 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM